Legislators Introduce Sugary Beverage Tax to Combat Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic

(Sacramento) – Today, three California legislators introduced legislation that would establish a health impact fee on sugar sweetened beverages in an effort to fund obesity, diabetes prevention and dental programs. The measure, AB 2782, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and coauthored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), and sponsored by numerous leading health advocacy organizations throughout the state, would generate an estimated $2.3 billion a year to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes, heart and dental disease that is ravaging the Golden State and the rest of the country.

“Science overwhelmingly demonstrates that the overconsumption of soda and other sugar laden beverages has led to an epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity throughout our country and here in California,” said Bloom. “Disease that is directly attributed to the overconsumption of sugary beverages costs us billions and brings with it untold misery that disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities and people of color. Now is the time to take action and begin to reverse the negative and preventable health impacts caused by these products.”

Assembly Approves New Minimum Smoking Age

Assembly Approves New Minimum Smoking Age

(Sacramento) – With Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) leading the way, the California Assembly approved a bill that would raise the minimum smoking age in California from 18 to 21. “It’s estimated that 90% of all smokers start before the age of 21,” said Assemblymember Wood. “Fewer smokers means healthier people, healthier people means we spend less money on healthcare. The only loser in this equation is the tobacco companies, and in my opinion, they have won for long enough.” The University of California, San Francisco recently published a study estimating that Californian’s spend over $9.8 billion treating the effects of tobacco use every year, roughly $3.5billion of which is billed directly to Medi-Cal. Learn more in this Assembly Access video.http://www.asmdc.org/wood

Legislators Respond to Coastal Commission

Sacramento Today - California Legislators announced a new bill in response to recent calls for action following the Coastal Commission firing their executive director.  AB 2002 would require anyone, with the exception of volunteers, who engages the Coastal Commission with the intent of influencing decision making to register as a lobbyist.

Assemblyman Wood said, “The fact that this is not already required is an egregious loophole.  The public and the legislature have the right to know who is influencing decisions made by the Coastal Commission and a responsibility to hold the Commission to the same standards as other policy making bodies.

AB 21 Signed; March 1 Deadline Abolished

Today AB 21 was signed by the governor.  The March 1st deadline that was mistakenly included in the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act has been removed 26 days before it would have gone into effect.

"Now that we have given local officials the time to take a thoughtful approach to regulating medical marijuana, I hope they will maximize that time by engaging with the public and having thorough discussions," said Assemblyman Wood.  "In 1996 the people of California voted to have a medical marijuana industry, but, frankly, state representatives dropped the ball.  Years of apathy led to black markets, unsafe neighborhoods, environmental damage, and a culture of criminality.  The historic regulations we passed last year put us on the path to fixing that and pushing the medical marijuana industry into the light. But to succeed, we need our local elected officials—both those who voted for outright bans because of deadline pressure, and those who are just now looking at the issue—to deliver solid policies that make sense for their communities."

With the signing of AB 21 the March 1st deadline is repealed effective immediately.  Cities and counties will now be able to develop their own rules and regulations for the medical marijuana industry indefinitely.  The State Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation is scheduled to come on-line January 1st 2018.

Legislature Repeals March 1 Deadline

(Sacramento) – Emergency legislation by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) to repeal the March 1st deadline included in last year’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act was passed unanimously (65-0) by the State Assembly. AB 21 removes the March 1st deadline ensuring local jurisdictions maintain the authority to develop their own rules and regulations for cultivating medical cannabis indefinitely. “I am not advocating for or against a particular position on medical cannabis,” said Assemblyman Wood. “I am advocating for local elected officials take the time to engage in a process that results good public policy, not knee jerk reactions.” AB 21 is now on the Governor’s desk for signature. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.

Assemblyman Wood Responds to “State of the State”

Today Governor Jerry Brown Addressed Californian’s from the Capitol in his record 14th State of the State Address this morning. In response to the Governor’s address, North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood had this to say.

“The Governor is, right we have come a long way, but there is still a lot to do.

We are experiencing a healthcare crisis in our rural communities.  In most small towns across California residents have to drive hours in each direction to get the medical attention they need.  We must develop a strategy to convince more healthcare providers to set up shop and stay in our small towns.

Bill to Remove March 1 Deadline Stays on Track

Sacramento Today – AB 21, the bill that would remove the March 1 deadline included in last year’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), was unanimously passed by the Senate Health Committee today.

Assemblyman Wood said, “I made a commitment to do everything I can to give local lawmakers the time they need.  We have been working hard to move this as quickly as possible.  I am hopeful that given our success today we can have this on the Governor’s desk by the end of the month.”